73 (passed away May. 26th, 2008)
Jul. 1st, 1934
Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Sydney Pollack's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2008 - Made of Honor
2007 - Michael Clayton
2006 - Avenue Montaigne
2005 - The Interpreter
2005 - Sketches of Frank Gehry
2003 - A Decade Under the Influence
2002 - Changing Lanes
2001 - The Majestic
1999 - Eyes Wide Shut
1999 - Random Hearts
1998 - A Civil Action
1992 - Husbands and Wives
1992 - Death Becomes Her
1992 - The Player
1982 - Tootsie
1962 - War Hunt
Guest TV Roles
Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.
He was born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. His mother, Rebecca Miller, was a homemaker. His father, David Pollack, was a professional boxer turned pharmacist. His parents divorced when he was young. His mother, an alcoholic, died at age 37, when Sydney Pollack was 16. He spent his formative years in Indiana, graduating from his HS in 1952, then moved to the New York City.
From 1952-1954 young Pollack studied acting with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. He served two years in the army, and then returned to the Neighbourghood Playhouse and taught acting. In 1958, Pollack married his former student Claire Griswold. They had three children. Their son, Steven Pollack, died in a plane crash on November 26, 1993, in Santa Monica, California. Their daughter, Rebecca Pollack, served as vice president of film production at United Artists during the 1990s. Their youngest daughter, Rachel Pollack, was born in 1969.
Pollack began his acting career on stage, then made his name as television director in the early 1960s. He made his big screen acting debut in War Hunt (1962), where he met fellow actor Robert Redford (I), and the two co-stars established a life-long friendship. Pollack called on his good friend Redford to play opposite Natalie Wood (I) in This Property Is Condemned (1966). Pollack and Redford worked together on six more films over the years. His biggest success came with Out of Africa (1985), starring Robert Redford (I) and Meryl Streep. The movie earned eleven Academy Award nominations in all and seven wins, including Pollack's two Oscars: one for Best Direction and one for Best Picture.
Pollack showed his best as a comedy director and actor in Tootsie (1982), where he brought feminist issues to public awareness using his remarkable wit and wisdom, and created a highly entertaining film, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Pollack's directing revealed Dustin Hoffman's range and nuanced acting in gender switching from a dominant boyfriend to a nurse in drag, a brilliant collaboration of director and actor that broadened public perception about sex roles. Pollack also made success in producing such films as The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The Quiet American (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003). Pollack returned to the director's chair in 2004, when he directed The Interpreter (2005), the first film ever shot on location at the United Nations Headquarters and within the General Assembley in New York City.
In 2000, Sydney Pollack was honored with the John Huston Award from the Directors Guild of America as a "defender of artists' rights." He died from cancer on May 26, 2008, at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades, California.
- Brother of 'Bernie Pollack' (qv)
- Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973
- Winner of year 2000 John Huston Award, presented by 'Tom Cruise' (qv) on behalf of Directors Guild of America, as a "defender of artists' rights...a warrior."
- He directed 12 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: 'Jane Fonda' (qv), 'Gig Young' (qv), 'Susannah York' (qv), 'Barbra Streisand' (qv), 'Paul Newman (I)' (qv), 'Melinda Dillon' (qv), 'Jessica Lange' (qv), 'Dustin Hoffman' (qv), 'Teri Garr' (qv) , 'Meryl Streep' (qv), 'Klaus Maria Brandauer' (qv) and 'Holly Hunter' (qv). Young and Lange won Oscars for their performances in one of Pollacks movies.
- Pollack directed (and won an Oscar for) _Out of Africa (1985)_ (qv), which is based on a book by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) which starts, "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." He also executive produced _"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" (2008)_ (qv), which is based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith, the first of which starts, "Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of the Kgale Hill." Smith's opening line is a deliberate literary reference to the opening line of Isak Dinesen's classic memoir about Kenya.
- Kate Winslet dedicated her first Oscar win to Sydney Pollack and his partner in Mirage Enterprises, Anthony Minghella, following their deaths.
- Lifelong friends with 'Robert Redford (I)' (qv), both men having made their feature film acting debuts in _War Hunt (1962)_ (qv).
- Battled cancer for almost nine months at the time of his death.